The lovely outdoorsy Jess is here with an inspiring hiking guest post on the Appalachian Trail and 6 reasons you should take on a challenge. Enjoy!

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The Appalachian Trail is one of America’s greatest footpaths. Experts rarely agree on just how long the trail is but even the lowest estimates put it at more than 2150 miles of mountain, meadow, and woodland. Some hikers go all the way from Georgia to Maine and others pick the best parts and ‘section hike’ for a week or a weekend.

Even a weekend can be pretty tough. Over most of those 2000+ miles of trail you have to carry your own food, sleeping gear, and cooking equipment. Some sections are steep and the going can be tough. The weather might not be on your side, but AT enthusiasts feel that the effort is more than worth it.

Here are 6 reasons you should consider taking on a section of the Appalachian Trail too:

Hiking can help you find your independence.

1. Find your independence.

Being a long way from a convenience store isn’t always such a bad thing. On the AT (or any other long distance trail) you have to take care of yourself but it is possible to do that. Get back to basics and it’s much easier to prioritise what’s important and what’s not. Standing on your own two feet can bring a new sense of confidence too.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail can yield some pretty amazing views.

2. See the sights.

Sometimes you can get a great view just be driving up to a lookout and stopping the car. In fact, the Appalachian Trail runs along Virginia’s Blue Ridge Parkway for quite a while. But what about those views you’d never see if you didn’t work for them? There are some experiences that only hikers get to have.

While hiking the Appalachian Trail you might see a gorgeous blue jay like this one.

3. Find rare wildlife.

Unfortunately, North American songbirds are in decline and so are many other meadow and woodland species. The AT runs through wilderness that is home to everything from black bears to blue jays, porcupines to salamanders. You never know what you might see on the path. Some hikers even claim to have seen mountain lions.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail might even help you raise money for charity.

4. Raise money for charity.

A sponsored hike is a great way to raise funds. It doesn’t matter if it’s about cancer research or saving those songbirds, there are plenty of good causes out there and all of them could use a little extra help.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail can help you get fit–maybe like these guys…maybe.

5. Get fit.

Hiking is great exercise. If you carry a hefty backpack it’s even better. A day on the trail will burn plenty of calories and you’ll be lighter on your feet at the end of it.

There is little more fun about hiking the Appalachian Trail than seeing beautiful natural wonders like this.

6. Have fun!

The most common reason people decide to hike anywhere is because they like doing it, and there is nothing wrong with that at all. The fresh air, the great views and wildlife sightings, the friends you’ll make on the trail, the campfire cooking, not having to worry about anything beyond putting one foot in front of the other… There are so many things to love about a trail like the AT.

About the author: Jess is an experienced long-distance hiker, although she hasn’t ever done 2000 miles in one hit! She writes for Appalachian Outdoors, a Pennsylvania-based outdoor store selling everything from keen footwear to first aid kits. She also edits an outdoor clothing website.

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Thank you, Jess, for an amazing post on hiking the Appalachian Trail. Come back anytime!

Have you ever hiked the Appalachian trail? Would you want to, if not? Tell me in the comments!

If you enjoyed this post, don’t be afraid to use the sharing buttons above or below.

Read the last post 5 Jewels of Blogging Who Will Make You Better Bloggers, and check out my homepage for other great posts!

Feature images courtesy of Flickr via Creative Commons.

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